* Obama urges $50 bln spending plan on infrastructure
* Comcast to buy rest of NBC Universal stake from GE
* Deere raises profit outlook but shares turn lower
* Indexes: Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P and Nasdaq rise 0.1 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Feb 13 U.S. stocks rose modestly on
Wednesday, putting the S&P near its highest intraday level in
more than five years as the market's recent streak of slight
gains on low volume continued.
Equities have been strong performers of late, buoyed largely
by healthy growth in corporate earnings, with the S&P 500
gaining 6.5 percent so far this year. The Dow is about 1 percent
from an all-time intraday high, reached in October 2007.
Those gains could leave the market vulnerable to a pullback
as investors take profit amid a dearth of new trading catalysts.
While analysts continue to see an upward bias in markets, recent
daily moves have been small and trading volumes have been light,
with the S&P near its highest since November 2007.
"There is a general upward bias, but right now we're at the
top of the range we've been in, so we could struggle to advance
further," said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn
Partners in Chicago.
The S&P 500 was well over its 50-day moving average of
1,460.92, a sign the market could be overbought.
Comcast Corp agreed late Tuesday to buy General
Electric Co's remaining 49 percent stake in NBC Universal
for $16.7 billion. Comcast jumped 6.3 percent to $41.41 as the
S&P's top percentage gainer while Dow component GE was up 3
percent to $23.26.
Deere & Co reported earnings that beat expectations
and raised its full-year profit outlook. After initially
rallying in premarket trading, the stock fell 0.9 percent to
According to the latest Thomson Reuters data, of the 353
companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 70.3
percent have exceeded analysts' expectations, above a 62 percent
average since 1994 and 65 percent over the past four quarters.
Fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are estimated
to have risen 5.3 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9
percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 16.44
points, or 0.12 percent, at 14,002.26. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 1.12 points, or 0.07 percent, at 1,520.55.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.32 points, or 0.14
percent, at 3,190.81.
The S&P was mere points away from 1,523.57, which would
represent the index's highest intraday level since Nov. 1, 2007.
Industrial and construction shares will be in focus
following President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on
Tuesday, during which he called for a $50 billion spending plan
to create jobs by rebuilding degraded roads and bridges. He also
backed higher taxes on the wealthy.
Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said
Tuesday the company's search partnership with Microsoft Corp
was not delivering the market share gains or the
revenue boost that it should.
Retail sales rose 0.1 percent in January, as expected, as
tax increases and higher gasoline prices restrained spending.
Equities were little impacted by the data.